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Mark Takano: “It’s Time to Clean Up Congress”

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House candidate announces first items of a reform agenda

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA — Mark Takano, candidate for Congress in the 41st District of California, recently announced the first components of a plan to bring needed reform to the United States House of Representatives. In announcing this initiative, Takano released the following statement:

“It’s clear to anyone paying attention that our Congress is broken. Big oil companies, powerful insurance companies and special interest lobbyists have rigged the system, and our middle class is suffering for it. At the end of last month, Congress went on vacation despite failing to renew tax cuts for middle class families or pass a single bill to help put struggling Americans back to work. People who play by the rules are tired of watching the rich and powerful cut deals to get ahead by cutting in line. Today, I’m announcing the first part of my plan to end the special interest stranglehold in Washington: ending public pensions for members of Congress who leave office and become lobbyists, requiring members of Congress to disclose all meetings with lobbyists, and ending the pay-to-play system that gives big donors easier access to testify before Congressional committees. Limiting the influence of powerful lobbyists is the first step towards putting Congress back to work for middle class Americans. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But if Republicans in Washington won’t take steps to clean up our politics, then if elected to Congress, I will.” The Takano Congressional Reform Agenda includes: Ending Taxpayer-Paid Pensions for Lawmakers Who Become Lobbyists. Members of Congress who leave public office and “cash in” their connections for high-paid positions in lobbying firms wouldn’t also be able to receive their taxpayer-funded Congressional pension. House Republicans voted to protect pensions for former members turned millionaire lobbyists on May 10, 2012.

Requiring Disclosure of Meetings with Lobbyists. The White House discloses all meetings between the President and lobbyists, and so should members of Congress. Ending Special Access for Campaign Donors. Members of Congress routinely invite large contributors to speak before Congressional Committees, a pay-to-play system that gives special interests greater access to lawmakers than regular Americans. This arrangement would be barred. Takano also asked members of the community to join his initiative by sharing their thoughts on ways to reform Congress through a page on his campaign website, www.marktakano.com.

A lifelong resident of Riverside, Mark Takano was elected to the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees in 1990 and won re-election to the board in 1995, 1999, 2004 and 2008. He is the longest serving current board member and one of the longest serving Democratic elected officials in Riverside County. He helped lead the project to establish the RCCD’s Center for Social Justice. Takano has worked as a classroom teacher in the Rialto Unified School District for the past 23 years.

RPU Calls for Continued Conservation Offers Programs That Help Cool Things Down & Provide Great Rebates

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Riverside – As triple digit temperatures are scheduled to continue to heat things up throughout the Inland Empire this week, Riverside Public Utilities is continuing to urge its residential and commercial customers to conserve energy whenever and wherever they can.

“A little conservation by a lot of people goes a long way toward reducing overall energy consumption,” said RPU General Manager David H. Wright. Simple steps like setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turning off unneeded lighting, and waiting to use major appliances until after 6 p.m. all help to reduce the city’s overall energy demands, increase system reliability, and help reduce the risk of any planned outages (also known as rolling blackouts).

RPU electric customers also have a variety of programs that they can participate in that can help them lower energy bills, stay cool, and get great rebates. Quick cooling projects RPU offers includes rebates of up to $25 for installing Energy Star-rated ceiling fans (4 fans maximum), and $50 for installing an Energy Star-rated room air conditioner.

Attic fans can also be a quick, low cost way to remove heat from the rafters. RPU energy customers can receive $100 back for installing solar powered attic fans, or receive a $50 rebate on electric attic fans (limit 2 of any kind). Rebates of $100 are also available on whole house fans, which can quickly cool down the entire home in just minutes.

RPU also offers up to $1,000 back for installing a new, energy efficient 15 SEER or greater central air conditioner. If an AC unit only needs a tune up, customers can still receive $25 back on their existing HVAC system servicing (refrigerant recharge required). When customers use two or more of these efficiency measures together with the utility’s Whole House Rebate program, they can increase rebate amounts – up to 250 percent! For additional energy conservation tips, and for complete details on all of RPU’s energy conservation rebate programs for residential and commercial customers, visit www.GreenRiverside.com.

Emergent, Independent Filmmakers To Showcase Their Latest Filmic Works During Shorts At Caam A Two-Day Film Screening

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Los Angeles - The California African American Museum (CAAM) presents Shorts at CAAM, a free, two-day screening of independent short films the weekend of Saturday, August 11th and Sunday, August 12th. The screenings will begin at noon until 4 p.m. Shorts at CAAM is a non-competitive short-film screening featuring independent filmmakers followed by a “talk back” session with the independent filmmakers, producers and actors whose work will be shown.

“As the perfect opportunity for indie filmmakers to showcase their short films to the community, Shorts at CAAM will provide an entertaining weekend for Exposition Park. This year marks the second annual weekend of Shorts at CAAM with more than 15 films slated to be shown. Last year more than 10 independent films were showcased,” says Elise Woodson, CAAM’s Program Manager and Education Curator who curated the shorts to be screened this year.

Designed to promote the work and vision of emergent filmmakers in the Los Angeles community, Shorts at CAAM supports fresh, young talent whose work otherwise might not have the opportunity to be seen by a diverse audience. Films screened at CAAM are for a mature audience only (18+), and may contain mild profanity, violence and adult content. This event is free and open to the public. CAAM is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, 90037. Parking in the adjacent lot is $10.00 all day at Figueroa and 39th Streets. For

more information on CAAM, visit www.caamuseum.org. RSVP for Shorts at CAAM by calling (213) 744-2024.

Sponsorships Available For 16th Inland Empire Annual Survey

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SAN BERNARDINO – The Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino is offering sponsorship opportunities to businesses and public agencies the opportunity to gather specific data through its 16th Annual Inland Empire survey. The annual telephone survey, which will be held in January 2013, asks questions of 1,000 residents in San Bernardino County and 1,000 residents in Riverside County on a variety of topics that include lifestyle, transportation, business and conservation.

“The survey offers the unique ability to businesses and public agencies to gain insights into what residents in the two counties are thinking” said Shel Bockman, co-director of the institute. “It gives citizens a “voice” regarding issues such as county services, spending patterns, and the quality of their lives. Those insights can help businesses, public organizations and other groups make informed decisions on the products they offer, the services they render or what directions they should take.”

For example, for the past 15 years, the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) has used the survey to gather information about residents’ views on transportation issues and ballot measures, said former SANBAG executive director Deborah Barmack. “The Inland Empire Annual Survey serves as a valuable tool for private and public organizations to plan for the future. In particular, it helps SANBAG gain public input into transportation and community priorities,” Barmack said. “As a council of governments for the county, SANBAG can check the pulse on public perception regarding quality of life issues and identify some of the challenges our county residents face.”

Other sponsors from past surveys have included:

• Charter Cable, which has used the survey to determine residents’ awareness of Charter’s services and reasons for selecting cable TV over satellite.

• The Community Foundation, which has included questions regarding people’s motivations for donating to non-profit organizations.

• The city of Victorville, which wanted its citizens polled regarding their use of the Internet as a means of keeping abreast of city events.

• Mojave Water District, which used the survey to learn about citizens’ water use habits and willingness to conserve.

The institute will help craft survey questions to get the most accurate and specific information for the sponsors’ specific needs, said Barbara Sirotnik, c0-director of the institute-. Pricing for including questions on the survey is determined on the number of questions asked. For more information on the Institute of Applied Research at Cal State San Bernardino, contact co-director Barbara Sirotnik at (909) 537-5729 or by e-mail at bsirotni@csusb.edu, or Shel Bockman at (909) 537-5925 or by e-mail at sbockman@csusb.edu.

Riverside Public Utilities Reminds Customers to Take Steps

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. – When triple digit temperatures to heat up the city, Riverside Public Utilities’ electric customers are reminded to conserve energy whenever and wherever possible, especially during the peak demand hours of noon to 6 p.m.

“If everyone makes an effort to conserve at home and at work, it will help maintain system reliability and operations,” said Riverside Public Utilities’ General Manager David H. Wright. Simple steps customers can take to stay cool and conserve power at home include:

• Setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher – For every two degrees increase on a thermostat, customers could reduce cooling costs by about 5 percent.

• Cool with fans - Using electric fans and ceiling fans use less energy than air conditioning units and offer good air circulation and cooling.

• Use appliances during off-peak hours - Using major appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, ranges and air conditioners during off-peak hours (8 p.m. to noon), can dramatically reduce the demands on the city’s electrical power reserves.

• Close doors to rooms that are not occupied.

• Plant shade trees and shrubs near the air conditioner unit, but not blocking the airflow – a shaded unit uses as much as 10 percent less electricity.

• Keep refrigerators and freezers at the proper temperature – extreme cold settings use more energy.

• Clean refrigerator coils at least once a year, and make sure there is a space between the wall and the unit.

• Install energy-efficient lighting or compact fluorescent lights.

• Close drapes to keep out the hot daytime sun. Sunny windows make air conditioners work two to three times harder.

• Change air conditioner filters regularly. Dirty filters cause air conditioning systems to work harder than necessary and use more energy For additional tips information about Riverside Public Utilities follow us on Facebook through #RiversidePublicUtilities and Twitter through #RPUNews Riverside residents can also seek relief from hot days at local senior centers, community centers and libraries that serve as official city Cooling Centers. For additional information on cooling center locations and hours visit RiversideCA.gov or contact Riverside’s Call Center by dialing 311 (or 826-5311) from a local telephone.

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BVN National News Wire